Willoughby, a pleasant suburb on Sydney's lower North Shore, just 10km from the city centre, belies its early history which centred from the 1860s on smelly tanneries.
One James Forsyth - whose elegant home has escaped the demolisher's hammer - opened the Rosewall Tannery in 1869 and many others soon followed, a lot of them scattered around the beautiful and then isolated valley of a tributary of Scotts Creek, where water and wattle trees were plentiful.
In the early 1900s, orchardists, Chinese market gardeners and dairy farmers dominated until the fledgling city of Sydney claimed the land for housing for its exploding population.
Today, Willoughby is feeling the effects of the property developers' penchant for high-density housing, resulting in a building boom in town houses and apartments which is significantly changing the character of the precinct and vastly increasing the numbers of people who call the suburb home.
Still, along with James Forsyth's home, a significant cluster of Federation homes preserve Willoughby’s residential heritage. And, remember Willoughby's other major benefit: It's only 15 or 20 minutes from the heart of Sydney's CBD and all that fabulous city has to offer.